So, it’s been a while.
And you may be wondering where I’ve been, well that’s a long story that is firmly rooted in the conundrum that is work life balance. It’s one of the most common phrases of professionals the world over, especially (in my opinion) for working mothers.
I guess the short version is, I’ve been ill.
The longer version is I moved to South Africa just over two years ago, started a new full time job, and then we hit lockdown with all that entailed. Everything added up and about 18 months ago I suffered a severe burnout, followed by a relapse about 8-9 months ago.
Some things had to take a back seat and Les enfants a Paris has been one of them.
A tired, working, mum. All three of those words used in the same sentence feel so trite. But really this is how I’ve felt since this all started. Sometimes at the end of the day when I just wanted 5 minutes to process, to think, evaluate, remember, feel: all my mind and emotions could summon is this: Tired.
The truth is, as a working mum, these past two years I haven’t felt like a #bossmum or #bossbabe or #mumboss or whatever glamorised version of success is being told about this narrative. It’s exhausting having to be “on” all day. “On” at work. “On” at home. Always ready to spring into action, problem solve, fix things and step in when needed.
I know I’m not the only one who’s exhausted / burned out. Since telling people about my situation I have found so many people are in the same boat as me.
It’s important to talk to someone and I feel you are far better off talking about it than hiding it and pretending everything is OK. I think that’s also the reason why I’m putting it in writing on the blog today.
Mums so often can’t talk about this because mums just do what we have to do. And when you ask how we are and we say “good” or “tired,” most likely what we’re thinking is something like, “I need to sleep. I need to clean. I need a break. I’m overwhelmed. My child needs new shoes. I have a deadline. I should schedule a doctor’s appointment. I need to exercise. I should organise the toys. I have to walk the dog. Donate the clothes sitting in the closet. We’re out of milk. I need a haircut. I should fold the laundry.”
My husband and son (and the rest of the family and friends) have been amazing in my road to recovery and after months off work, several therapy sessions later, I know I will still have trouble finding the off button or off mode but I’m learning to deal with this and hopefully trying to find some balance.
I want my home to be a sacred, restful, clean, organised cozy space. I want to plan and do activities and learn things with my my son. Spend time with my husband. I care about my work, both my day job and blogging, building a portfolio and staying up to date on the latest marketing and digital storytelling trends.
I take pride in a job well don’t but I also take pride in being a mum.
Ultimately I can’t compartmentalise or prioritise career, family, home or studying.
So finding balance is going to be key going forward.
I should add that we love living in South Africa and that my ‘issues’ have all been work related. We have been able to see the country, Alexander loves his new school and despite the pandemic we’ve been lucky enough able to travel a little bit to see my parents in Spain.
I accept I may find myself feeling unwell again in the future. I have up and down days. Myself and people around me are learning that you can’t just expect it all to disappear, you might come across another tunnel like I did last year and that’s perfectly normal.
It’s not a straight line recovery but one of ups and downs.
In my opinion it would be dangerous to think that it’s gone forever.
So, I want to start the new year with celebrating mums who are building careers and families at the same time.
It’s messy and we’ll often feel like I’m in the trenches. This whole expectation for mum to parent like they don’t have a job and have a job like they don’t also have to be a parent is long past its sell by date.
The truth for most of us is working mums is that often something has got to go and that’s the thing I’m trying to figure it out for myself. I like to imagine that in the next 5,10, 15 or 30 years I’ll look back, grateful for what I accomplished. That I won’t see myself as a “failure” but as doing the best I could with what I had at the time.
But what I’m most hopeful for, for myself and for you, is that we will look back on this season of our lives with love, awe, respect and gratitude for the life, career and dreams we built with our children and not in spite of them. For the way we showed up as our whole selves. The mother (or father for dads who’re reading this!), the employee, the student, the _____ (fill in the blank). More than the roles we juggled, we are whole, complex women (fathers) and human beings. We are working mums, but we are more, and we move mountains everyday to make a better life. If our future selves can have love, awe, respect and gratitude for our present selves, then why not start today?
I’m looking forward to writing blogposts again and taking photographs and sharing lots of kids fashion, personal stories and hotspots in South Africa and neighbouring countries with you.
December holidays. Out of quarantine after 7 days! Ready to enjoy our time in Spain! #holidaysinspain
Blyde River Canyon Reserve is a natural habitat to hippos, crocodiles, Taita Falcon, klipspringer antelope, river otters, as well as fish and bird monkey species. South Africa’s five primates live in this reserve – the somango, vervet monkeys, chacma baboons and greater and lesser bushbabies. And you’ll take in vistas of montane grassland, one of the few remaining, which has more than 1,000 flora species including many of which are unique in the world.
When we arrived we were lucky enough to watch them measuring crocodiles and releasing them back in the wild!
Durban is the third biggest city in South Africa and also one of the major centers of tourism because of its warm climate and wonderful beaches. In 2015, it was recognised as one of the New7Wonders Cities and it’s no wonder why because this city can amaze anyone.
When you visit Durban you will find the award winning 5-star Oyster Box Hotel, located in Umhlanga, a resort town 20 minutes north of Durban Central. It has been a top luxury hotel since the 1930s, that was originally built as a beach cottage in 1869 even before the town was founded.
The hotel is absolutely magnificent. Not to mention its luxurious rooms, I love waking up to stunning views of the lighthouse and ocean and feeling the opulence the hotel exudes. The hotel is immaculate, it has shining marble floors, glass elevators, and posh furniture. The relaxed, old world charm of the place draws you in, transports you to another era and leaves you revitalised.
The pool with direct access to the beach allows me to forget about the routine sunbathing while reading a book. Having High Tea and hearing the grand piano at the Palm Court was delightful. The massage I had at the spa was one of the best I’ve ever had, so were the cocktails watching the sunset at the Lighthouse Bar and we enjoyed having the private cinema all to ourselves!
We’ll definitely come back!
#notanadjustahappyhotelguest #oysterbox #oysterboxhotel #familyholidaysarethebest #relaxingbythepool #momlife #winterinsouthafrica
Hooked for good 🐎
@cullenstables1 #horse #horses #horsesofinstagram #equestrian #rider #riding #equestrianlife #horsepower #horselife #instahorse #cheval #equinephotography #horserider
Love spending time with my almost 11 year old. Picked up some new piano books for the new school year at @edumusicsa and then #gouter at @lexiseatery Their crispy kale chips and fresh juices are the best! Today we tried the cleanser (carrot + beetroot + ginger + lime).
#lastdaysofsummerholidays (although it’s winter here in South Africa) #happykid #lovespendingtimewithhim #eatmoreplants
Meet the penguins at Boulders beach 🐧
#capetown #bouldersbeach #penguins #happykid #photooftheday #makingmemories #ootd #levis @levis_southafrica #benetton @benetton #p448 @p448 #reposeams @repose.ams #southafrica #lesenfantsaparis
Too many photo’s to chose from so follow me on Instagram @lesenfantsaparis to see more.